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Create your own AMI that contains ArcGIS software

An Amazon Machine Image (AMI) defines the programs and settings that will be applied when you launch an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance. You could create an instance using an Esri ArcGIS Enterprise AMI, make changes to it, and then create a custom AMI from it. Alternatively, you can run an Amazon Web Services CloudFormation template provided by Esri to create a custom AMI.

The following are examples of when you would create a custom AMI:

  • You want to add resources such as Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes, change settings, load data, or install additional software that will apply to all deployments you create. Customizing an instance and creating your own AMI from it allows you to use it as a starting point for your next deployment.
  • You require a hardened operating system for security compliance.
  • You want to include only specific ArcGIS software installations per EC2 instance.

Creating a custom AMI makes an exact copy of the current state of your EC2 instance. Therefore, keep the following in mind:

  • Remove all personal information from your EC2 instance before creating a custom AMI, including stored information such as web browser cookies and temporary files.
  • Creating a custom AMI copies any Elastic Block Store volumes that you may have attached. Be aware that this affects your costs when the custom AMI is deployed. For example, you may have a 100 GB attached EBS volume on your current EC2 instance. If you create a custom AMI from your instance and deploy it five times, you'll be charged for five new EC2 instances and five 100 GB EBS volumes.
  • When you launch instances from a custom AMI that includes a running ArcGIS Server site and web services, place them beneath an Amazon Elastic Load Balancer, thereby creating a siloed architecture. Note that this architecture does not provide any way for the GIS servers to communicate with each other. If you want a multiple-machine ArcGIS Server site instead, build it using one of the ArcGIS Enterprise on Amazon Web Services deployment tools.

Once you configure an EC2 instance the exact way you want it, follow instructions provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) to create your own AMI using the AWS Management Console.


AMIs that you create with ArcGIS software are for individual use and are allowed only for the purpose of configuring your own ArcGIS Enterprise deployment on AWS. They are not to be redistributed or shared with any other party.